Rec center rolls out splash pad, 'Warranty on Wellness' initiative

Cary Ashby • Jan 11, 2018 at 4:00 AM

The Ernsthausen Community Center has many big plans and projects for 2018.

In addition to the 24-hour access to the Republic Street recreation center starting March 1, the new splash pad will be open in mid-May or early June.

“Installation will be complete when the outdoor pool opens,” said Joe Lindenberger, Norwalk parks and recreation superintendent. 

In June, city council authorized accepting a $200,000 grant to build the splash pad. The 40-foot by 80-foot aquatic recreation area will be east of the zero-depth entry for the outside pool. Lindenberger and recreation director Niki Cross have said they expect the splash pad to get a lot of use, draw more residents to Ernsthausen and reach a larger population — from toddlers through tweens.

Also, Ernsthausen received $20,000 from a local foundation to install a commercial-grade liner for the interior therapy pool. Lindenberger said this will address the problem of tiles that have been “popping up” for many years.

“It’s heavily used,” he said, referring to the pool.

The liner will be installed in August.

Also, three new treadmills will be in the cardio room.

“It was budgeted for this year,” said Lindenberger, who sees the new equipment as a way to be proactive and update the machines that the recreation center has. “We are doing that to take care of our patrons.”

The Ernsthausen staff has a goal of doing 240 presentations to area businesses this year. That is more than triple what has been done on average.

Also, Norwalk Safety-Service Director Dan Wendt said there will be a “membership retention drive” in which calls will be made to patrons to remind them their memberships are about to expire. Residents will be able to renew over the phone.

“Those are real calls,” said Wendt, who believes the upcoming 24-hour access “will improve the quality of life in Norwalk.”

Finally, the parks and recreation department has started a “Warranty on Wellness” (WOW) branding initiative. The logo will appear on T-shirts for the youth athletic leagues and marketing materials.

“You will see it in our building (also),” said Lindenberger, who hopes that someone seeing the “WOW” logo will spark a conversation.

Lindenberger considers wellness to include physical, social and mental aspects. In addition to exercising, he said talking to people, being around others and interacting are good for one’s overall health. 

“Our goal is for you to live to be 100,” Lindenberger added. “It’s not all 5Ks and triathlons. That is what park and rec is about — the quality of life.”

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